Wednesday, June 8, 2011

School Summer Reading List (or Cost Comparisons)

Tip of the Day: Got a teen/Are you a teen who has a summer reading assignment? Get to the library early (read: not August 31) for the best selection of titles on your list. Yes, all the "good books" will be checked out by mid-July.

The schools that my library serves just released their summer reading lists. Yay! Now I can order the books that my lib doesn't own or have many copies of so that I have offerings when the teens come in!

Something I've been noticing, though, is that some of the lists have a lot of adult fiction. I totally enjoyed HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, and I'm fine with it being on the high school lists because it does have teen appeal. BUT there are so many awesome, awesome YA books out now that I kind of wish the lists leaned even more that way.

Admitedly, I am deeply biased since I'm the YA Services Librarian, but in addition to my love of the books:
1. I want teens to know that there are book being written WITH THEM IN MIND; and
2. my YA book budget is decided with YA book prices in mind, and when I have to buy adult titles for the YA required reading collection, it creates an unbalanced use of the funds.

I also feel like there is a lifetime for all of us to read books intended for adults, but YA books really can be "outgrown" by some people and I want the teens to experience as many of those novels now.

Many arguments can be made for including the adult titles, like the fact that they can push teen readers out of their comfort zones, but I'll let someone else write that post.

Or weigh in here.


Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Kate Fall said...

I think you should let the town's school librarians and teachers know your concerns. I've been shocked to come across high school English teachers (or ELA depending on what your district calls English class) who don't recognize even the most familiar author's names in YA literature or who can't tell you who won the Printz Award. The school librarian should be able to tell you who makes up the list and who grades the book reports. (Just a hunch, but if you have to read hundreds of those things, you probably try to get books you know and like on the list, even if that means they're not YA books.)

Lisa Tiffin said...

I see your budget point, but by 11th or 12th grade I think it is appropriate for teens to start reading adult titles. I've been shocked to see that even in college many are still reading YA (and studying them!). Seems odd to me.

Also? I have to say that Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (awesome!) seems like a great transition book. It is for adults, but it covers a lot of teen years for the protags and gives a great view of history. I imagine it would generate a lot of discussion on many levels.

Kate Fall said...

I would imagine that most kids read both YA and adult. They're not mutually exclusive. Plus there are many beach read, low challenge adult books and many thematically challenging YA books, so I wouldn't assume a book is better for a high schooler because it isn't YA. But hey, I study YA and my college days are well behind me. :)

I think the main difference between well-written YA and adult is the age of the protagonist, and 18 year olds can be forgiven for not wanting to read midlife crisis novels.